The UN Security Council
Thirteen Members of the UN Security Council voted to adopt Resolution 2468, which has extended MINURSO’s mandate in Western Sahara for a further six months. In addition, the resolution requires that the parties to the conflict work together to find a realistic and long-lasting solution to the conflict.
Only Russia and South Africa abstained during the vote which followed a debate between France and the United States regarding how long a mandate MINURSO, the UN Peacekeeping force, should have. France wanted a year-long extension, whereas the USA would only support six months.
This latest resolution follows on from others on the situation in Western Sahara and reaffirmed the UN committent to help the parties resolve the conflict by compromising to achieve a realistic, practical and long-lasting solution to the conflict. The language used continues to place the Moroccan Autonomy Plan at the forefront. The Secretary General has welcomed the plan as a serious and credible way of moving forwards toward peace in the region.
In paragraph seven of the preamble, the Security Council once again calls for more cooperation between Morocco, the Frente Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania including working with the UN and each other to build trust and to maintain and increase their involvement in the political process.
In the previous resolution, 2440, the UN SC distinguishes between the parties in the conflict and neighbouring states. A key difference in this new resolution is that these are now named as parties on equal footing. Morocco, Algeria, Polisario, and Mauritania have been urged to work cooperatively and to build trust. This echoed a previous statement by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Horst Kohler (his envoy in the region) that trust will be the key to ending this 44-year-old conflict.
Resolution 2468 calls for great commitment and involvement to bring about a political solution which could lead to better growth, opportunities and job creation in the Shahel region.
Although the US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has an anti-MINURSO stance it has the Security Council’s full support and the resolution restated how important MINURSO’s mandate was as part of the Envoy’s work to achieve a political solution acceptable to the four parties.
The resolution expresses the Security Council’s concern that previous agreements had been violated by Polisario on several occasion. Guterres seeks Polisario’s cooperation to ensure that meetings with MINURSO staff happen in Rabouni, Algeria, as agreed, not in one of its self-proclaimed “liberated zones.”